‘A nurse through and through’ - Great Yarmouth woman made MBE in Queen’s honours list
PUBLISHED: 13:00 10 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:19 10 October 2020
A nurse who delayed her retirement to help fight the coronavirus pandemic has been honoured on the Queen’s birthday list.
Julia Hunt, 58, from Great Yarmouth, former director of nursing at the James Paget hospital, has been made an MBE for her services to the profession.
“It is incredibly humbling,” she said.
“Because you go into your career of nursing over 30 years being very patient-focussed, it’s a public-facing service, and you never dream you’ll get recognised.”
She had retired at the end of March - but a little over 24 hours later agreed to return to work in a new role, as director of infection control, to help the hospital in its fight against Covid-19 and support staff through what she described as “times of high anxiety”.
“It was one of the biggest challenges of my career, along with all the other members of the private sector and the NHS,” she said.
Ms Hunt began her training in 1988 as an enrolled nurse undertaking a conversion course to registered nurse in 1992.
Having worked at the James Paget hospital in Gorleston for her whole nursing career across a range of roles, she earned a reputation for maintaining professional standards and a passion for doing the right thing for patients and improving quality of care.
She led the organisation to a ‘Good’ CQC rating on three consecutive inspections and was instrumental in pioneering new approaches to support the most vulnerable patients, engaging board support, for example transforming environments to meet the needs of patients with dementia.
Ms Hunt has championed the introduction of nursing degree scholarships to support local individuals to undertake nurse training and more recently has supported the extension of scholarships to midwifery students.
She also supported the development of staff recognition awards across the trust, as part of her role in improving staff health and well-being.
Ms Hunt retired at the end of June and didn’t work again until September, when she got a new job working part-time at a care home.
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“I am a nurse through and through, and now I am back at frontline nursing.
“I’m not ready to give up nursing,” she said.
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